Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that lasts for at least six months and includes at least two of the following symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, & decreased emotional expression.
Subcategories of Schizophrenia
1. Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by auditory hallucinations or delusions, such as thoughts of being persecuted by others or thoughts of grandeur.
2. Disorganized schizophrenia is marked by bizarre ideas, often about one’s body (bones melting), confused speech, childish behavior, great emotional swings, and often extreme neglect of personal appearance and hygiene.
3. Catatonic schizophrenia is characterized by periods of wild excitement or periods of rigid, prolonged immobility. Sometimes the person assumes the same frozen posture for hours on end.
Chance of Recovery by type
Type I schizophrenia includes having positive symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. There is distortion of normal function with no intellectual impairment & a good reaction to medication - good chance of recovery -
Type II schizophrenia includes having negative symptoms, such as dulled emotions and little inclination to speak, which are a loss of normal functions. There is intellectual impairment & poor reaction to medication - poor chance for recovery -
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
1. disorders of thought - delusions
2. disorders of attention
3. disorders of perception - hallucinations
4. motor disorders
5. emotional (affective) disorders
Causes of Schizophrenia
Biological causes; Schizophrenia seems to have a genetic predisposition and researchers are seeking the genetic markers involved with schizophrenia.
A genetic marker refers to an identifiable gene or number of genes or a specific segment of a chromosome that is directly linked to some behavioral, physiological, or neurological trait or disease.
Neurological causes; Two reliable differences: larger ventricles & decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex
Environmental causes; The diathesis stress theory says that biological & neurological factors create a genetic predisposition that interacts with
life stressors in the environment to produce schizophrenia.
Neuroleptic drugs (also called antipsychotic drugs) are
used to treat serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, by changing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Typical neuroleptics primarily reduce levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
The Dopamine Theory says that in schizophrenia the dopamine neurotransmitter system is somehow overactive and gives rise to a wide range of symptoms.
Atypical neuroleptics such as clozapine, risperidone, lower levels of dopamine & also reduce levels of other neurotransmitters, especially serotonin. Atypical neuroleptics reduce positive symptoms, may improve negative symptoms, & reduce relapse.
Treatment - Evaluation of neuroleptic drugs
Phenothiazines (a group of typical neuroleptic drugs) can produce unwanted motor movements in a side effect called Tardive dyskinesia which involves the appearance of slow, involuntary, and uncontrollable rhythmic movements and rapid twitching of the mouth and lips, as well as unusual movements of the limbs.
Atypical neuroleptics such as risperidone & olanzapine produce a very low rate of tardive dyskinesia; but can cause increased levels of glucose or blood sugar (hyperglycemia), excessive weight gain, & onset of, or worsening of, diabetes.